This week we have a slightly different approach to the HF propagation news. We want to help you and your family contact Santa’s elves in Lapland, Finland.
The station OF9X is once again on the air this Christmas from Santa Claus Land in the Arctic Circle. Twelve elves are operating OF9X, which stands for ‘Old-Father-Nine-Christmas’, near the city of Oulu in Finland for the entire month of December. To work the elves at OF9X, the best starting point is the DX Cluster or Reverse Beacon Network to see where they are operating. They have been spotted on many bands and modes over the past week. The HF predictions suggest 20m or 17m both give a good possibility of a contact with a probability of greater than 90 percent during the hours of daylight. Even 15m may be possible around midday. 7MHz, 40m should also give a high probability for the whole 24 hours, while 80m and 160m may also be open during the hours of darkness in the UK. But get in quick, because NOAA is predicting unsettled geomagnetic conditions from 19-23 December due to a recurrent coronal hole.
VHF and up propagation news:
We’ve had some useful tropo recently, but this will decline early next week as low pressure becomes the dominant force on the weather charts in the lead-up to Christmas. The high pressure that brought us some good tropo in the south and east will be eroded by a large deepening low near Iceland and subsequent lows further south and close to Britain in the latter part of the week. These lows may bring very strong winds to some areas and if you are leaving your station over the Christmas period, make sure you’ve checked the forecast and, if necessary, made your antennas safe before leaving.
December often sees a minor uptick in sporadic-E activity so keep alert on the low VHF bands and watch the 10m beacons for signs of this propagation mode.
With the Geminids meteor shower past its peak, we look forward to the Quadrantids shower after Christmas. Until then, continue to look for the early morning peak of random meteor activity to make MS contacts.
Moon declination goes negative towards the end of the week and losses are climbing as the Moon goes out to apogee next Sunday. Get on in the early part of this week to catch the end of this month’s lunar cycle.